The Law of Barbie

Reading Time: 3 mins

No plot spoilers here just some really Good News

Is watching the Barbie movie worth your time?

Yes. My answer is a wholehearted yes.

The reason may surprise you. It’s not for the horses, it’s not for the beach, it’s not even for the pink Birkenstocks.  The reason isn’t for the matriarch or the patriarchy.

The answer is surprising and has to do with the Gloria character’s monologue.

"It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful and so smart, and it kills me that you don't think you're good enough. Like, we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we're always doing it wrong.
You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can't ask for money because that's crass. You have to be a boss, but you can't be mean. You have to lead, but you can't squash other people's ideas. You're supposed to love being a mother, but don't talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men's bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you're accused of complaining. You're supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much or that you threaten other women because you're supposed to be a part of the sisterhood.
But always stand out and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It's too hard! It's too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.
I'm just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us. And if all of that is also true for a doll just representing women, then I don't even know."

Gloria’s famous monologue highlights how the law functions in our lives. It does not give life. It does not inspire. It does not bring any of the goods. It simply reveals the depth of brokenness within us and in the world around us. It reveals how limited we are.

It reveals the impossibility of doing it all. Gloria understands the function of the law in the very beginning of her explanation of the cognitive dissonance in her life.

“It kills me”

The Barbies and Gloria call the experience Gloria described cognitive dissonance.  What the Barbie’s and Gloria calls cognitive dissonance is the law functioning in their lives. In the movie, revealing the brokenness of the world is the solution that will bring restoration and redemption. If you’ve lived long enough you know the ridiculousness of that statement.  Knowing that something is wrong does not reconcile or redeem anything.

In the movie, revealing the brokenness of the world is the solution that will bring restoration and redemption. If you’ve lived long enough you know the ridiculousness of that statement.

Is it good for brokenness to be called out and brought into the light?  Certainly. Just as confessing how we hurt and harm those around us is a good thing. Just as recognizing corruption in the world around us is a good thing. But those things do not bring restoration and redemption to the broken and contrite heart.  Recognizing corruption does not bring justice or reconciliation. 

The work of Christ for us is what brings redemption and reconciliation.

Hearing the words ‘You are Forgiven’ brings comfort and peace. The work of Christ on our account is the only thing that can reconcile us to Him and to one another.  Knowing how hard life is and how good Christ is and that he is for us lets us reach for our neighbor in the midst of brokenness and dissonance and say ‘Well this sucks’.

The work of Christ for us is what brings redemption and reconciliation.

We have been given the righteousness of Christ and been reconciled to to him. Therefore, since we have been made righteous we seek good things for our neighbor.  Things like redemption, reconciliation, comfort, joy, peace, mercy, and the list does on.  Will we extend these to our neighbor perfectly? Certainly not - we will have sin clinging to us. Will we always see these fruits come about in our lifetime?  Sadly no.  Yet God still uses us in the places and vocations he has given to us to extend the goods to our neighbor.

My advice is to go see the movie. Recognize the cognitive dissonance in your life between the world God created and the broken world we live in. Recognize it in yourself and in others.

All the while remembering that you are forgiven.

All the while remembering that God brought, brings, and will bring the goods to us.

All the while recognizing that brokenness sucks while we console one another with the hope we have in Christ.

Then go make a gynecology appointment (if necessary) and search for those pink Birkenstocks.